President Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of the last of Russia’s chemical weapons on Wednesday in a televised broadcast in which he slammed the United States for failing to decommission its chemical stockpile.
Russia’s 39,967 metric ton cache of chemical weapons, inherited from the Soviet Union, was enough to "destroy all life on earth multiple time,” Putin said Wednesday.
“I believe Russia’s efforts in liquidating its chemical weapons will serve as an example for other countries,” the president said on the state-owned channel Rossia-24.
“The United States unfortunately hasn’t met its required deadlines in liquidating their chemical weapons, using a ‘lack of finances’ as an excuse,” Putin said.
Valery Kapashin, a military official in charge of Russia’s chemical stockpile announced in August that Russia would destroy the last of its chemical weapon stockpiles by the end of October, a year ahead of a deadline set by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü praised the move in an online statement Wednesday, saying it was a “major milestone in the achievement of the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”